Professor Hanna Pickard, Professor in Philosophy of Psychology at the University of Birmingham’s Department of Philosophy, has launched The Responsibility without Blame Project, an e-learning for anyone interested in thinking about our ideas of responsibility and blame, and finding ways to work and relate more effectively with people with personality disorder and complex needs.

The e-learning is designed for staff from multiple sectors, including mental health, social work, support work, custodial services, emergency services, police, and correctional services. It is also relevant for carers of adolescents who may not have a diagnosis but who may have related emotional and behavioural difficulties. Family and friends can also use the e-learning to help them better understand and relate to people with personality disorder and complex needs.

The Responsibility without Blame Project is free to use. The online system consists of 20 accessible and interactive learning modules that combine text, video, and questions to think about, enabling users to respond to what they see and reflect on how it can be applied to their work or relationships.

Some of the modules are quite short, but some are longer and divided into sub-sections. On average they take about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how much time learners take to reflect and respond.

Most people take about two hours to complete the e-learning: the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. But many of the questions are optional, and learners are able to tailor the experience to their own individual needs and pace, taking as many breaks as they like, and returning at any point to continue learning or to review completed modules.

The Responsibility with Blame Project was funded by The Wellcome Trust

Professor Pickard says, “Working and relating with people with personality disorder and complex needs is not always easy. It can require striking a balance to support people to develop a sense of personal agency and responsibility, without falling into either rescue or blame.

“The Responsibility without Blame Project grew out of my experience working as a member of staff in a Therapeutic Community, where I had to learn the skill of finding a ‘middle way’ so that I could hold people responsible for their actions, but without judging or blaming them.

“This has informed my research in philosophy and, in collaboration with ex-service users from STARS (Support Training and Recovery Systems), I have developed The Responsibility without Blame Project as a resource to help people better understand these ideas and develop the skill of working with responsibility together with care and compassion.”

The Responsibility without Blame Project can be found at

For press information, contact:

University of Birmingham: Oliver Blackburn, Research Communications Manager, (0121) 414 3932/8730

Notes to editor

  • STARS (Support Training and Recovery Systems) is the organisation for people who have previously completed treatment in the complex needs services of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes. Members meet regularly to plan and for mutual support, and carry out paid work with the clinical teams in the three counties. This includes consultation, teaching and training, and conference presentations. The STARS group is funded and administered by Training and Vocational Initiatives in personality disorders (TVI).
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked among the world's top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.